Living in Florida comes with several perks: beautiful beaches, sunny days when the rest of the nation is shoveling snow, and dolphin sightings every now and then. It also comes with a yearly hurricane season. If you’ve been living in the Sunshine State long enough, you’d likely already learned about the importance of stocking up on bottled water, non-perishable foods, and maybe a couple of sandbags. But what about your air conditioner? Is there anything you can do to protect the condenser unit?
What to Do Before the Hurricane
- Elevate the condenser unit. You only need to elevate your condenser unit if you live in a flood zone. You can check whether you’re at risk by checking the Hillsborough, Pinellas, or Pasco county websites.
- Secure the condenser unit. The Florida Building Code requires condenser units to be anchored during the construction of homes. However, this rule was implemented in 2007. If your home was built before then, hire an HVAC technician to do it for you.
- Cover the condenser unit. You can do this with either plywood or a tarp — preferably plywood, in the event that winds carry any item and slam it against your air conditioner, the cover will offer it with some protection.
- Trim surrounding bushes and trees. During 100 mph winds, everything becomes a projectile. This includes branches and small bushes that can be uprooted easily.
- Shut off power to the AC. Before and after a hurricane, it’s common for neighborhoods to experience power surges. This can cause damage to your air conditioner as well as become a fire hazard. You can also install a surge arrester, but always err on the side of caution by shutting off the AC before the storm, both at the thermostat and breaker panel.
What to Do After the Hurricane
- Inspect the area for damage. Walk around your home to see if there’s any flooding, water damage, or exposed wires. If you see any electrical cords near water, do not get near it. Call an electrician to take care of it for you. If the area seems safe, inspect the unit to verify whether the fins are bent, since this will affect the airflow. If so, you can restore them to their original position with a condenser fin comb. If anything else seems damaged, do not turn on the air conditioner until it can be inspected by a technician.
- Turn on the air conditioner as soon as power comes back on. In addition to cooling your home and keeping your family comfortable, running your air conditioner after it’s been shut off for an extended period of time will prevent mold from forming within the system.
- Be mindful of how long it takes the AC to cool your home. If the AC is not cooling, you can hear a hissing sound, and frost builds up on the condenser unit, you may have a refrigerant leak. If this is the case, contact an HVAC technician ASAP, since this can lead to refrigerant poisoning.
Climate Design Can Help
At Climate Design, we provide HVAC and electrical services all over Tampa Bay: Clearwater, Largo, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, St. Pete Beach, Eastlake, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, and New Port Richey.
If you’re having electrical or HVAC issues, we can help!
Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment